The RAISE Youth project has the admirable goal of professional capacity building among young people and the provision of support for starting their own businesses. In this we are all aware that trainingson issues like how to manage your finances, how to establish a company and other practical tips in the field like beekeeping, farming, tourism and other are very useful.
However, sometimes there is a danger of neglecting the so-called “soft skills”: the ability to communicate in a more humane manner (not the professional business way), the development of emotional intelligence, self-knowledge, knowing what you want and what is best for other people and yourself, to create a warm working environment where people do not wake up every morning wishing to be somewhere else. Even the worst job can be pleasant with the right colleagues and treatment. And vice versa: even the most amazing job can be ruined by bad interpersonal skills and negative working environment. Most jobs are in the middle, all the difference in the world is made by us, humans. In today’s world it seems that working 12 hours per day 6-7 days per week is not considered sad – it is a great. It means that you are not lazy, that this is the path to success.
Enabling those young people to get their lives together, put “the knife and the bread” (as we say in Bulgaria) in their own hands – is priceless. But we might also need to make them aware that professional success is not the only type of success. Earning a lot of money does not automatically bring happiness. It helps a lot but it can also be detrimental. We should also train them on when to say “stop, that is enough work for today”. Not only for their own good but for the good of others. If someday their business grows and they hire people, they need to know that squeezing the life juice of their employees is not the best possible way of action. Sadly, this has become the norm.
Some companies and countries test the 4-day working week and so far, the results are encouraging and positive. Of course, when you start your business or career you need to put all your efforts and resources in otherwise it won’t work out well. But after a certain point the key is to find a balance in order to work to live instead of live to work.